Lawsuit seeking to discard over 1 million Michigan votes in Washtenaw, other counties withdrawn
Four lawsuits aiming to advance the Trump campaign’s longshot legal strategy to block President-elect Joe Biden from assuming office and backed by conservative election attorney James Bopp Jr. were withdrawn by the plaintiffs Monday. The cases alleged voter fraud, but no major evidence was found in any of the states where Republicans have claimed irregularities occurred.
The lawsuits were all filed in states in which results were decided in Biden’s favor after Election Day — Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — and were contested by the Trump campaign.
The Michigan case brought to an end Monday was Bally, et al. v. Whitmer, et al. The case, filed by four Michigan voters, called for votes from three heavily Democratic counties to be thrown out, alleging fraudulent vote counting and irregularities in Washtenaw, Wayne and Ingham counties. If the plaintiffs would have won the case, over 1 million votes throughout the counties would have been rendered invalid, tipping the state for President Donald Trump.
Bopp, who also helped craft the Bush campaign’s legal argument for the Florida Supreme Court in 2000, explained the rationale behind the suit in an interview with the Detroit Free Press this weekend.
"What the complaint does is set out a course of conduct and anecdotal evidence that would give rise to a suspicion that there were illegal votes cast in the election that should be investigated," Bopp said. “For results to be certified under those circumstances, voters’ valid, legal votes will be unconstitutionally diluted by illegal votes.”
In a statement Monday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said the lawsuit was baseless.
“This case was clearly designed to spread misinformation about the security and integrity of Michigan elections,” Nessel said. “Our elections have been conducted fairly and transparently and the results reflect the will of Michigan’s voters. Any claims to the contrary are wholly without merit.”
In an interview with the Detroit Free Press, Sam Bagenstos, University of Michigan law professor and 2018 Democratic candidate for the Michigan Supreme Court, said the lawsuit "picked the big Democratic jurisdictions and said, ‘Let’s invalidate all the votes of the people there.’”
“It’s outrageous and anti-democratic and it’s based on nothing in terms of the allegations," Bagenstos added.
Trump has yet to concede the election, and in doing so is withholding funds to the Biden transition team and denying it access to crucial data on the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, Republican Senate candidate John James, who lost the Nov. 3 election to Democratic incumbent Gary Peters, has yet to accept his defeat, and last week started a legal defense fund to continue filing lawsuits alleging fraud.
Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, whose office oversaw the Nov. 3 elections, refuted all allegations of significant voter fraud.
“Whether it’s doctored images, staged demonstrations, false tweets or frivolous lawsuits, the purpose is all the same: to reduce the public’s faith in our elections and our outcomes,” Benson said in a press statement on Nov. 4. “But those efforts will not succeed. In Michigan, the process worked. Our system is secure, accurate and anyone who tells you otherwise is attacking our democracy or unhappy with the results.”
Daily News Editor Ben Rosenfeld can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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